November 05, 2007

Al Qaeda targets 15 year olds

An interesting piece in the Guardian reports comments from the MI5 head, Jonathan Evans, that increasingly Al Qaeda is targetting its recruitment efforts at younger and younger Muslims. In particular the organisation is looking to young British Muslims in their teens. Obviously the teenage years are amongst the prime years for people to form adult identities. One of the issues surrounding that is that people in their teenage years are often uncomfortable or unsure about where they are and what they are. They are thus prime for recruitment by groups like Al Qaeda which offer a strong identity and a purpose to life at a time when most people are going through confused emotional tempests.

Part of the problem of course is what we do about this- ultimately it comes down in part to a working education system which isn't segregated (segregation is a wonderful way to manufacture resentment from afar). No doubt, youth workers, youth organisations, parents and mosques (as well as a host of others that I've forgotten) can help as well but the spectacle of the teenage suicide bomber may grow depressingly familiar as we go into the future.